Tiger Leaping Gorge Tour: This trip will allow you to discover “Shangri-La”, the mythical paradise of Tibetan Buddhists and imaginary world described by James Hilton, who certainly would never have imagined the influence of his successful novel at the time of its writing. Indeed today several of the districts in the region claim ownership over the heritage of the myth. To this day the area is beautiful and heavily influenced by the fascinating culture of Tibet; Zhongdian was in the past part of “Historical Tibet”, just as were certain parts of Qinghai and Sichuan provinces.
Tiger Leaping Gorge Tour: DAY 1 – LijiN – Tiger Leaping Gorge – Zhongdian
Stop at Tiger Leaping Gorge, located around 80km/50 miles from Lijiang, taking just over two hours to reach by road depending on traffic levels. One of the deepest gorges in the world, with staggering variations in altitude (nearly 4000m) separating the Jinsha River (lit: Golden Sands River) from the jagged mountains of Northern Yunnan, this area has become a playground for walkers coming from the world over keen to defy this unforgiving terrain. We will take a short walk in the gorge before continuing on to Baishuitai, a collection of limestone pool formations brimming with water, resembling a calcified lava flow in a stunning likeness to a terrace farm. The full magic of the site is unveiled as the sun reflects on both the white stone and the small ponds of turquoise water.
We will arrive in Zhongdian in the late afternoon and make a stop at our hotel.
Stroll through the old town, a small maze of cobbled streets lined with wooden houses. You can participate in the daily spectacle of local and foreign dancers who come to try some dance steps on the the old town’s main square… Participants usually dance in a circle to the rhythm of traditional and modern music, a unique show particularly appreciated by the locals and not to be missed!
Optional: We will head to the cosy and arty Tara Gallery Café & Bar for a Tibetan dinner on the terrace (providing the weather holds).
Tiger Leaping Gorge Tour: Day 2 – Zhongdian (B)
We then continue to the small pottery village of Nixi (around 20km from Zhongdian), nesting on a mountain that overhangs the marvellous Napahai Lake (difficult to reach outside of the summer season) surrounded by mountains on one side and the other by a broad meadow where horses and yaks graze happily. We will stop off at the house of a Tibetan family where you can try “tsampa”, a mixture of yak’s butter, tea and flour. Take this opportunity to savour this Tibetan speciality in a traditional small Tibetan house…
Optional: bike tour of the lake to enjoy the site in all its glory, it takes extra charge. Please contact us.
Road to Pudaocuo national park located 25km from Zhongdian, a large natural site that contains nearly 20% of the country’s biological diversity (including orchids and Himalayan yews that are used for treating certain cancers) and one hundred endangered animal species as the black-necked crane, the red panda or the Asiatic black bear (those two ones being much more difficult to see). Ecological buses run regularly around a 66km course. You will first stop at Shudu Lake where you can walk a 3 km hiking trail along the lake. You may have the opportunity to observe the unique spectacle of fish fond of azalea petals yet toxic. Continue to the meadow Militang whose green pastures are a paradise for horses and yaks in summer.
Visit of the park will end, if you wish, by a 4km walk along the Bita lake, true natural museum with its unique biodiversity.
Transfer back to hotel.
Tiger Leaping Gorge Tour: Day 3 – Zhongdian – Deqin (B)
After the breakfast in hotel we will have a visit to the impressive monastery Songzanlin located at 7km from old town, (Ganden Gompa in Tibetan Sumtselling) important location for Tibetan Buddhism still in use today. You can admire the glittering golden roofs of the monastery at sunset (if weather permitting) and countless prayer flags waving in the wind, scenes of local life around the Lamuyancuo lake and some 600 monks daily life who stay in the typical small houses adjoining the monastery.
A small school associative located in the old town will welcome you in the morning for a course on the art of Thangka. The teachers directly come from Lhasa and regularly talented young Tibetan to this art closely related to Buddhism and meditation. This session will help you better understand and grasp representations spiritual adorning temples and Tibetan monasteries.
We will then travel to Deqin, around a three hour drive to the north of Zhongdian and located at an altitude of 3500 metres
Night in Deqin.
Tiger Leaping Gorge Tour: Day 4 – Deqin – Zhongdian (B)
We will rise at dawn to go to admire the sunrise over the “Meili Xueshan” from the platform of Feilasi temple mountain range which stands as an impassable border between Tibet and China. It is dominated by the mystical Kawa Karpo, a true natural castle that at more than 6700 metres in height towers over the neighbouring mountains. This amazing spectacle will be enjoyed whilst eating breakfast, prepared in advance by the hotel.
The Mekong River which has its source in the north the Tibetan plateau carved the gorge below the Kawa Karpo, you will cross the legendary river to get in the charming village of Mingyong, starting point for hiking towards the glacier of the same step name and one of the stages of “kora”, the pilgrimage of faithful Tibetans.
A 10km walk will lead you to the Lotus Temple in order to further see the religious blood that still flows through the veins of this region but also the remarkable view of the glacier. You can see the prayer flags tirelessly flapping in the wind against the backdrop of this enchanting natural scenery.
Optional: a good physical condition is required for this tour that you can do on horseback to get there and back, please contact us.
Return to Zhongdian and transfer to the airport. Flight on to your next location.
Tiger Leaping Gorge Tour: Please contact us to get the best possible price based upon your travel period and specific touring needs, private basis not join in, please inquire for pricing which varies depending on accommodation standards.
Tiger Leaping Gorge Tour: What’s Included
Accommodation in selected hotel
Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner).
English speaking guide without shopping
Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
Entrance fees for mentioned visits
Tiger Leaping Gorge Tour: What’s NOT Included
Other meals than mentioned
Other services than mentioned
International and Domestic Flights
Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
Tips, Travel insurance
Visa of China
Tiger Leaping Gorge Tour: Creating Unique Touring Experiences
All the touring itineraries on this website have been carefully crafted by our in-country management teams and represent a series of experiences we can certainly recommend. However, we understand that every travel experience should be as unique and individual as each traveler. Our consultants are waiting to hear from you so that we can tailor or custom design a China tour to your individual specifications.